1 Kings 2:8
And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Thou hast with thee Shimei.—The most ungenerous charge is the virtual withdrawal of the pardon, freely granted to Shimei long before (2Samuel 19:18-23). It is, perhaps, partly dictated by policy; for the notice of Shimei (2Samuel 16:5-8; 2Samuel 19:17) shows that he was powerful, and that he assumed a dangerous championship of the fallen house of Saul. But there are unmistakable traces of the old grudge rankling in David’s heart, reminding us of the bitterness of such psalms as Psalms 69.

1 Kings 2:8. Behold thou hast with thee Shimei, &c., which cursed me with a grievous curse — “David,” says Delaney, “when he was importuned to punish Shimei, (2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Samuel 19:21,) imitated the mercy of God, who waits that he may be gracious. Had he copied after any lower pattern, he had not spared Shimei, in the very instant of passion and provocation; nor would he afterward have forgiven him, in the fulness of prosperity and power. He very well knew how much the remission of personal injuries became the kingly character, and, therefore, he gave Shimei his life, and confirmed the grant by an oath. But then it must be remembered, that the obligation of the oath was purely personal; for so he himself explains it, saying, I sware unto him by the Lord, I will not put thee to death by the sword. And, therefore, though David was bound, Solomon was at full liberty to vindicate the majesty of kings, in chastising this high insult upon his father in such a manner as he thought fit: nor was there any danger of doing this to excess, when the chastisement was deferred to the calm and cool season of dispassionate justice; when neither passion nor personal resentment could inflame the vengeance. David well knew how much it became the piety of his character to submit himself and his concerns to the divine disposal, throughout the whole course of his life; but could he, for this reason, wholly renounce the interest of justice? Or, if he could, he very well knew how dangerous an example it might be to his successors, to suffer such injuries and insults upon majesty to pass unpunished: and, therefore, when he had acted up to the piety and dignity of his own character, he very wisely admonished his son to act up to the wisdom of his.”

2:5-11 These dying counsels concerning Joab and Shimei, did not come from personal anger, but for the security of Solomon's throne, which was the murders he had committed, but would readily repeat them to carry any purpose; though long reprieved, he shall be reckoned with at last. Time does not wear out the guilt of any sin, particularly of murder. Concerning Shimei, Hold him not guiltless; do not think him any true friend to thee, or thy government, or fit to be trusted; he has no less malice now than he had then. David's dying sentiments are recorded, as delivered under the influence of the Holy Ghost,One of the sons of Barzillai here intended was probably Chimham (see the margin reference). Who the others were is not known. The family continued down to the return from the captivity, and still held property in Israel (compare Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63). 8. thou hast with thee Shimei—Though David promised him a pardon, which being enforced by the presence of a thousand followers, could not have been well refused, he warned his son against Shimei as a turbulent and dangerous character. It must not be supposed that in these dying instructions David was evincing a fierce, vindictive spirit. He is rather to be considered as acting in the character of a king and magistrate, in noticing crimes which he had not been in a condition to punish, and pointing out persons of whom Solomon would be under a necessity to rid himself as dangerous to the state. The grateful mention of Barzillai's kindness [1Ki 2:7] was, however, a personal feeling that does honor to the warmth of his heart; and his silence as to Mephibosheth, the son of his beloved Jonathan, would imply the previous death of that prince. With thee, i.e. in thy power, as that phrase is oft used.

Cursed me with a grievous curse; or, reproached me with bitter reproaches, 2 Samuel 16:7,8; which David could not but deeply resent from him, though, as it was an affliction sent from God, he patiently submitted to it.

I will not put thee to death with the sword.

Quest. How then could David lawfully engage Solomon to punish him for it? And did David upon his death-bed bear malice against Shimei?

Answ. First, David was not a private person, which might remit such offences without any inconvenience; but a public magistrate, who for the honour and maintenance of government was obliged to punish such insolent and opprobrious speeches, if the necessity of his affairs had not then engaged him to pass it by. Otherwise it appears from divers passages of the Psalms, and of this history, how free David was from a rancorous and revengeful spirit, even towards his enemies.

Secondly, The following advice is not contrary to David’s oath, both because that was only personal, that David would not kill him either at that time, as Abishai desired him, or whilst he lived, and did not oblige his successors; and especially, because it was not David’s mind that Shimei should be put to death for that fault, (as is evident; for then there was no need of Solomon’s wisdom to find out an occasion, but only of his justice to punish him for the old crime,) but for some other competent crime, which Solomon’s wisdom, narrowly prying into all his actions, would easily find out. And if the condition which Solomon imposed upon Shimei, 1 Kings 2:36,37, seem hard, it must be remembered that David only swore that he would pardon him as to life, but not that he would exempt him from all punishment or confinement.

And behold thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim,.... Of whom, and of his native place; see Gill on 2 Samuel 16:5; he was now at Jerusalem, and so with Solomon, or near at hand; and was on his side, and of his party; see 1 Kings 1:8; but not to be trusted, or looked upon as a real friend:

which cursed me with a grievous curse, when I went to Mahanaim; a place on the other side Jordan, of which place, and the curses this man cursed David, with, see 2 Samuel 16:7;

but he came down to me at Jordan; after the defeat of Absalom, and when David was returning, and humbled himself to him, and begged his pardon:

and I sware unto him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword; but this oath was not binding upon his successor, and especially should he commit a new crime.

And, behold, thou hast with thee Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I sware to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. thou hast with thee Shimei] Shimei was not at present living in Jerusalem (see 1 Kings 2:36), but that his conduct might be more closely watched Solomon compelled him to come and dwell in the city.

Bahurim] Besides its connexion with the story of Shimei, this place is mentioned (2 Samuel 17:18) as the spot where Jonathan and Ahimaaz were concealed in the well, or cistern, to avoid the pursuit of Absalom’s servants; and in the account of Phaltiel’s separation from Michal when she was sent back to David (2 Samuel 3:16) by Ishbosheth. It must have been situate near the road from Jerusalem to the fords of the Jordan, but it is not mentioned in Joshua, nor has its situation been identified.

Mahanaim] was on the east of Jordan, and was so named by Jacob (Genesis 32:2) because he there saw the host (Mahaneh) of God. Abner made his head-quarters there while he was supporting Ishbosheth against David (2 Samuel 2:8). Its strong position and fortification, which are specially dwelt on by Josephus (Ant. vii. 9, 8) no doubt led Abner to choose it, as did David likewise in his flight before Absalom.

came down to meet me] Shimei makes a merit of being among the first to give the king welcome on his return (2 Samuel 19:20). And though Abishai urged that he should straightway be put to death, David refused to have the day of his restoration stained by the blood of any man.

Verse 8. - And, behold, thou hast with thee [Bahr understands by עִמְּך, "near thee," (in deiner Nahe) because Bahurim was near Jerusalem. Keil gathers from this word that Shimei "was living at that time in Jerusalem," and refers to ver. 36, which, if anything, implies that he was not. But it is worth suggesting whether Shimei may not be the Shimei to whom reference is made in 1 Kings 1:8. (Dean Stanley notices this as a possibility, but alleges nothing in support of it: "Jewish Church," vol. 2 p. 171, note.) We there find Shimei and Rei mentioned as firm adherents of Solomon at the time of Adonijah's rising, and in these words, they "were not with Adonijah." Surely it is not an unfair presumption - if there is nothing to rebut it - that the Shimei subsequently mentioned as "with" Solomon is the same person. But it has been objected (e.g., by Kitto) that the false part that Shimei played at the time of Absalom's revolt would have forever prevented his being recognized and mentioned as one of Solomon's supporters. I very much doubt it. The great influence which Shimei possessed must be taken into account. Nothing shows that influence more clearly than the fact that on the day of David's restoration, despite the part he had taken, and the possible disgrace and danger that awaited him, he could still command the attendance of one thousand men of Benjamin (2 Samuel 19:17). Probably the secret of his influence lay in the fact that he was "of the family of the house of Saul," and possibly, owing to the insignificance of Saul's descendants, was the mainstay and chief representative of that house. And if so, there is nothing at all surprising in the mention of the fact that he was "not with Adonijah," and was subsequently "with" Solomon. It may have been a matter of great consequence at that critical time, which side Shimei - and the thousand or more Benjamites at his back - espoused. And if he did then declare for Solomon, it could hardly fail to procure him some amount of favour and consideration. He would thenceforward rank amongst the friends of the young king, and the words "thou hast with thee" would accurately describe his position] Shimei, the son of Gera [another Shimei, the son of Elah, is mentioned (1 Kings 4:11) as Solomon's officer in Benjamin. Gera must not be thought of as the "father" of Shimei, except in the sense of ancestor. He was removed from him by many generations, being the son of Bela and the grandson of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21; cf. 1 Chronicles 7:6). Ehud, three hundred years earlier, is also described as "a son of Gera," Judges 3:15], a Benjamite [lit., the Benjamite, meaning that Gera, not Shimei, was the Benjamite. He was well known as the son of Benjamin's firstborn (1 Chronicles 8:l), and the head of a house in Benjamin. Professor Gardiner (American translation of Lange, textual note, p. 29), following the LXX. and Vulg., insists that, בֶּן־הַיְּמִינִי (with the article) can only mean "son of the Jaminite, i.e., of the descendants of Jamin, a son of Simeon." But this is directly contrary to what we read 9 1 Samuel 16, viz., that Shimei was of "a family of the house of Saul," i.e., a Benjamite. And to this the grammar agrees. Judges 3:15 is an exact parallel, and compare בֵּית־הַלַּחְמִי, 1 Samuel 6:14, 18, and בֵּית־הַלַּחְמִי, 1 Samuel 16:1, 18; 1 Samuel 17:58] of Bahurim [the name means "The young men." It was some six miles distant from Jerusalem, in Benjamin, and on (or off, as Josephus, Ant. 7:09, 7, implies) the main road to Jericho and the Jordan valley. It may have lain in one of the waddies branching out from the ravine which runs continuously alongside the steep descent to Jericho. The event narrated in 2 Samuel 3:16 as happening at Bahurim may well have served to inflame Shimei's hatred. In spite of his rancorous hostility, however, we gather from 2 Samuel 17:18, that David had some faithful adherents there], which [lit., "and he"] cursed me with a grievous [acc. to Gesenius, al., "strong," i.e., sweeping; Keil, vehement; Thenius, "heillos," flagitious. LXX., κατάραν ὀδυνηρὰν. Vulg., maledictio pessima] curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim [2 Samuel 16:5]; but he came down to meet me at Jordan [lit., the Jordan, i.e., the descender, so called from the rapidity of the stream (it has a fall of 1400 feet in about 100 miles) or from the steep descents which lead to it. The word always has the defin. art.], and I sware to him by the Lord, saying, I will not put thee to death with the sword [2 Samuel 19:23]. 1 Kings 2:8On the other hand, Shimei the Benjamite had shown great hostility to David (cf. 2 Samuel 16:5-8). He had cursed him with a vehement curse as he fled from Absalom (נמרצת, vehement, violent, not ill, heillos, from the primary meaning to be sick or ill, as Thenius supposes, since it cannot be shown that מרץ has any such meaning); and when David returned to Jerusalem and Shimei fell at his feet, he had promised to spare his life, because he did not want to mar the joy at his reinstatement in his kingdom by an act of punishment (2 Samuel 19:19-24), and therefore had personally forgiven him. But the insult which Shimei had offered in his person to the anointed of the Lord, as king and representative of the rights of God, he could not forgive. The instruction given to his successor (אל־תּנקּהוּ, let him not be guiltless) did not spring from personal revenge, but was the duty of the king as judge and administrator of the divine right.

(Note: "Shimei is and remains rather a proof of David's magnanimity than of vengeance. It was not a little thing to tolerate the miscreant in his immediate neighbourhood for his whole life long (not even banishment being thought of). And if under the following reign also he had been allowed to end his days in peace (which had never been promised him), this would have been a kindness which would have furnished an example of unpunished crimes that might easily have been abused." This is the verdict of J. J. Hess in his Geschichte Davids, ii. p. 221.)

It follows from the expression עמּך, with thee, i.e., in thy neighbourhood, that Shimei was living at that time in Jerusalem (cf. 1 Kings 2:36).

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